Most People Believe World Is Getting Riskier: Swiss Re

September 9, 2013

A new survey, commissioned by Swiss Re on the occasion of its 150th anniversary, has found that people around the world say they’re acutely aware of the risks they may face in the future, and are ready to shoulder the financial burden personally. At the same time, respondents say they want their political leaders to do more to tackle a riskier world ahead.

Swiss Re listed the following “key findings” from the survey:

  • 70 percent of respondents are prepared to take personal responsibility for their own retirement costs.
  • 84 percent think that climate change will be responsible for more natural disasters in the future.
  • Nearly 8 in 10 fear damage from an earthquake, flood or other natural disaster within the next 20 years.
  • 75 percent would use renewable energy if it were made available.
  • 91 percent want governments to do more to promote energy efficiency.
  • Hunger is a major concern, not just in the developing world.

The 150th anniversary survey was conducted by Gallup, the consulting, polling and research organization, which spoke with nearly 22,000 citizens across 19 markets on five continents, aged 15 and above. The survey was carried out in April and May 2013. Under the motto “Open minds – connecting generations,” Swiss Re said its aim is to “foster a dialogue about risks and how society and generations are to tackle them in the future.

People were asked what concerns them most, including ageing, climate change, natural disasters, energy and food supplies. Almost everyone is worried about prospects for the economy, according to the survey. Concerns about global warming and natural disasters are also widespread.

Most respondents say they are well aware of the risks they may face in future, and are willing to take action to address them — even if this is going to hit their own pocket. But many also say that government policy does not fully address the risks faced today and by future generations.

Swiss Re’s Group Chief Risk Officer David Cole noted that the “findings show that individuals are willing to take as much responsibility as their leaders.” The findings are a call for better co-operation between government and the private sector, Cole said, adding that it’s vital to prepare systematically for the future.

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